"Your petty human kingdoms are amusing, but they pale against the splendors of ancient Aventus - either before the great waves came, or after." - Boral Adirishol, aventi warlord-in-exile
Citizens of an ancient empire that sank beneath the ocean, the aventi adapted to their new home and now adventure both at sea and on land. A proud people who hold personal honor in high regard, the aventi can be found anywhere from the human-settled coasts to the deepest trenches of the ocean floor.
Aventi are little different from humans in appearance. Aventi usually stand from 5 feet to a little over 6 feet in height and weigh from 125 to 250 pounds, with men noticeably taller and heavier than women. Aventi coloration tends toward very pale, almost bluish skin to a lighter tan, with blue and green eyes and hair that ranges between a light brown to a very pale blonde. The calves and forearms of aventi feature small swimming fins that fold almost flat when the aventi leaves the water.
Aventi dress is very plain and sparse - most wear just enough to maintain their modesty, and some wear less than that. They are fond of pearls and soft metals that can be worked without heat, such as gold. Aventi, like humans, reach adulthood at about age 15 and rarely live more than a century.
Aventi Racial Traits
- Medium: As Medium creatures, aventi have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Aquatic: Aventi are aquatic humanoids, and have the aquatic and human subtypes.
- Amphibious (Ex): Aventi can breathe water or air equally well, without limitation.
- Aventi base land speed is 30 feet. Aventi base swim speed is 30 feet. Aventi have a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. They can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. Aventi can use the run action while swimming, provided they swim in a straight line.
- Water Spell Power (Ex): The magical ties that connect the aventi to Aventernus (see page 49) persist, untold ages since the sea god saved the aventi from extinction. As a result, spellcasting aventi have enhanced ability with water magic. An aventi's effective caster level is +1 for spells with the water descriptor.
- Human Blood: For all effects related to race, an aventi is considered a human. Aventi are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect humans as humans are, and they can use magic items that are only usable by humans.
- Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus languages: Aquan, Elven, Sahuagin.
- Favored Class: Any.
If you want to be totally at home beneath the waves, the aventi are a good choice because you can easily adventure for extended periods above or below the water's surface.
Adventuring Aventi: Most aventi adventurers undertake missions on behalf of their family or aventi community - reestablishing connections among the widely scattered aventi settlements, fighting bitter blood feuds against rival families, or rediscovering lore lost in the great cataclysm that transformed the aventi race.
But other aventi adventurers are more independent. There's a long tradition in aventi society - a cultural safety valve of sorts - where aventi who don't fit in choose a period of self-exile, during which they wander the seas. Your character might have chafed at the bounds of regimented aventi society, choosing exile rather than a stifled life among your people. Or maybe it wasn't voluntary; a real or trumped-up crime or conflict might have resulted in your exile. Whether you seek to regain your place in aventi society or forge a new destiny for yourself is up to you.
Taken as a whole, aventi are as likely to become adventurers as any other race, though land folk rarely hear of their exploits. Many aventi adventurers perform mighty exploits below the waves but only rarely venture out of the sea. Those who undertake those adventures that lead them out of the ocean are likely to find fellow adventurers who are more familiar with the surface world.
Character Development: Even though you have a swim speed, it's still a good idea to spend points on the Swim skill. Doing so will help you when you're facing undersea hazards and when you're wearing heavy armor. If you're a spellcaster, you'll want to know every spell in the Player's Handbook with the water descriptor.
Character Names: Aventi keep the names they are given at birth, even after marriage. When among other races, aventi do not give their family names, instead taking the name of their settlement as a substitute surname (as in "Ralin of Deepingpearl" rather than "Ralin Ubanishol"). Given names among aventi always begin with consonants, while family names always begin with vowel sounds.
Male Names: Boral, Damash, Daneth, Kanal, Ghenor, Nimor, Ralin, Relvin, Tagren.
Female Names: Boshira, Dahara, Daratha, Canelle, Janna, Naliatha, Nimora, Paranna, Shara.
Family Names: Adirishol, Anayasha, Eriskan, Iricha, Olbareth, Ubanishol, Uvarilith, Ygranneth.
Roleplaying An Aventi
As an aventi, you're exotic both physically and culturally. You're able to traverse the boundary between the worlds of sea and air - a boundary that most find impassible. And you're from a culture with a rich, tragic history that few human nations can match. You carry the weight of your people's honor and heritage on your shoulders, a mixture of pride and sorrow not unlike that of a samurai after Japan's feudal age drew to a close.
Personality: Aventi are, first and foremost, a very devout people - they literally owe their existence to their patron sea god, after all. Aventi are also a very proud people, sometimes to the extent of being considered prickly about things such as their honor. They are not quick to take insult, but they are very particular about their own honorable behavior. They expect less out of other races, though are pleasantly surprised when one of the land folk matches their standards for honor, courtesy, and duty.
Aventi culture is very tradition-bound and ordered. This sense of tradition is expressed among the aventi as the Twelve Virtues: honor, loyalty, bravery, piety, civility, strength, perseverance, dedication, humility, obligation (specifically, to the family), respect, and peacefulness. Of course, these are ideals to which individual aventi strive, but the assumption of these virtues as being the norm colors everyday aventi life.
Roleplaying Application: When you're faced with an important decision, frame your answer in terms of the Twelve Virtues: "An intriguing dilemma. . .chasing the pirates would demonstrate the virtue of bravery, but continuing with our sea voyage would demonstrate the virtue of loyalty to our employers."
Behaviors: Aventi culture is regimented enough that even rebels, misfits, exiles, and other adventurers tend to go about their daily routines in an organized, mindful fashion. Devout aventi undertake many small rituals of thanks and acknowledgment through their day, and nearly every aventi recites his or her lineage before going to sleep each night (even those who can't stand their families).
Roleplaying Application: During your adventuring, think about small, repetitive tasks you can turn into rituals. Perhaps you sharpen the tines on your trident after every battle, then look in every direction for enemies, then examine the bodies of fallen foes.
Language: Aventi speak Common, as well as the languages of those civilizations around them. Many Elven words have found their way into the aventi Common, due to the influence of the aquatic elves on aventi civilization. Additionally, many aventi learn the Aquan tongue, often with a merfolk accent.
Roleplaying Application: Because aventi spend most of their lives underwater, they use idioms and expressions that humans find puzzling - and some phrases are baffling to aventi as well. The phrase "fight fire with fire" and "every cloud has a silver lining" are probably meaningless to aventi, who might instead use the equivalent phrases "sometimes you must wrestle the octopus" and "even the smallest oyster can hold a pearl."
Long ago in the misty dawn of humankind, the mighty island nation of Aventus ruled the waves. The patron of this nation was a god of the sea, and it was only by this god's graces that the aventi exist today, for a terrible cataclysm befell that island nation. Some say that cataclysm was the working of a goddess who was the sea god's rival, while others claim that it was the result of the nation's own toying with terrible magics.
Regardless of the cause, Aventus was laid low by the cataclysm and the island nation sank beneath the waves. Though the sea god wasn't able to save the island, he transformed its people into the aventi, humans capable of breathing water.
Now aventi emerge from the sea only occasionally, for they are an insular people. In many cases, those who meet aventi do not know that they are dealing with a seadwelling creature, for the aventi do not look drastically different from humans and can easily pass for one in most cases. Those aventi who need to venture onto the surface world simply do so, engage in whatever trading they might need, and then go their way with few being any the wiser.
Alignment: Respectful of tradition and personal honor, aventi tend to be lawful. Aventi do not have any need for stringent legal codes and expansive laws. Each member of their society is assumed to act with honor and integrity, seeking the best outcome for the most people. Dishonorable behavior is dealt with on a familial level - a family is expected to deal appropriately with anyone in their midst whose behavior reflects badly on the community, whether through shaming them into proper behavior or ensuring that this family member makes amends and then keeping a close eye on him or her to prevent such behavior again.
Lands: Most aventi know the place where their original homeland sank beneath the waves. However, a generation or so after their transformation they were forced to abandon it. Some say it was because disease spread among them, while others claim that the sahuagin armies of a mighty kraken lord claimed the great city.
Settlements: Currently, aventi live in small enclaves of up to a thousand members. Each enclave is ruled by a king, who is often a paladin or cleric of the sea god. These enclaves are guarded by a militia led by the elite Order of the Pearl. Once a decade, the kings of all the settlements gather for a Royal Moot hosted by one of the kings, wherein the kings reaffirm their treaties and alliances with one another.
Beliefs: Most aventi revere the mighty sea god Aventernus as their patron and savior, for it was by his hand that they did not perish in the long-ago catastrophe that befell their kingdom. The temple hierarchy of Aventernus is a pillar of any aventi community, and high priests often serve as the principal advisors to aventi kings and lords. Evil aventi are sometimes lured by the promises and power offered by sinister deities such as Sekolah or Umberlee.
Relations: Aventi have excellent relations with merfolk, aquatic elves, and tritons, often banding together with them to fight off threats from land folk or aquatic threats. They are fascinated by the merfolk and their culture's apparent lack of structure, so unlike the aventi way. Aventi are dedicated enemies of the sahuagin and monstrous sea creatures such as merrows and scrags.
Of all the sea-dwelling folk, the aventi are the most likely to engage in regular commerce and trade with coastal and seafaring land dwellers. Sometimes they conceal their true origins from the humans they deal with, appearing as mysterious sea traders who rarely venture far from the ocean. In other places aventi kings are staunch allies of human lords ruling over coastal cities, and the two races freely mix. Human-aventi marriages are not uncommon in such places; the children of these unions are aventi, although they might have features and coloration that are quite unusual for their race.
|Random Starting Ages|
|¹ Simple classes are barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer.|
² Moderate classes are bard, fighter, paladin, and ranger.
³ Complex classes are cleric, druid, monk, and wizard.
|Race||Middle Age¹||Old²||Venerable³||Maximum Age|
|Aventi||35 years||53 years||70 years||+2d20 years|
|¹At middle age -1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.|
² At old age, -2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
³ At venerable age, -3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
|Random Starting Height And Weight|
|Race||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Aventi, male||4'10"||+2d10||120 lb.||x 2d4 lb.|
|Aventi, female||4'5"||+2d10||85 lb.||x 2d4 lb.|
Adventures that involve both the air-breathing and water-breathing worlds often involve aventi. And when you need to use the plot device of an ancient culture with long-lost magic lore, consider a culture whose ruins lie below the waves, not below the ground.
- Once a century, the princess of a human kingdom must travel under the waves to an aventi enclave, exchanging gifts and learning about life at the ocean's floor. The PCs are part of the princess's retinue, responsible for keeping her safe during the journey and while in the company of her honor-obsessed hosts.
- An aventi warlord has roused the battle-fury of his community, raiding coastal villages and seizing every - sailing vessel he can get his hands on. The warlord is no mere plunderer, however. He wants to lead his people back to life on land, displacing whatever humans get in the way of his homeland ("New Aventus").
- Aventi sages have warned for years against using the magic rituals that might have caused the sinking of Aventus, but a cult of aventi have pieced together most of the arcane texts. They want to use the ritual to sink the existing continents, creating a world dominated by undersea civilizations.